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Right-Wing Activists Face $5M Fine for Election Disinformation

FCC proposes largest ever fine for TCPA violation for Jacob Wohl, Jack Burkman

(Newser) - Two conservative activists were trying to suppress minority voters in largely Democratic areas when they made more than 1,100 unlawful robocalls offering false claims about mail-in voting in the 2020 presidential election, according to the FCC , which hopes to levy its largest fine ever proposed for a robocall operation...

'Disinformation Dozen' Pushes Most Antivaccine Content

73% of false conspiracy theories on Facebook come from accounts of 12 people

(Newser) - Twelve people are responsible for 73% of COVID misinformation on Facebook. A group called the Center for Countering Digital Hate says it looked at content posted on Facebook and antivaccine Facebook groups in February and March, and then monitored how the content was shared. The group says antivaccine influencers make...

The DOJ Just Yanked Dozens of Iran-Tied News Sites

Department alleges these state-linked sites are spreading disinformation

(Newser) - American authorities seized a range of Iran's state-linked news website domains they accused of spreading disinformation, the US Justice Department said Tuesday, a move that appeared to be a far-reaching crackdown on Iranian media amid heightened tensions between the two countries. The Justice Department said 33 of the seized...

Report: 65% of Anti-Vax Social Posts Tied to 12 People

Researchers urge social media sites to crack down on 'Disinformation Dozen'

(Newser) - High rates of vaccine hesitancy are holding America back from herd immunity—and much of the blame lies with the "Disinformation Dozen," researchers say. A March study and a recent follow-up from the Center for Countering Digital Hate identify a dozen figures responsible for an estimated 65% of...

After Twitter Dumped Trump, a Big Drop in Misinformation

Researchers say taking president off platform made significant dent in the spread of false claims

(Newser) - If you're wondering what effect "deplatforming"—ie, taking away someone's megaphone, especially online—has on the spread of misinformation, a recent ban is seeing some interesting results. The Washington Post reports that, per analytics firm Zignal Labs, false claims about election fraud plummeted 73% across multiple...

Twitter Pulls Accounts of Fake Black Trump Supporters

Analysts say there are signs of Russian involvement

(Newser) - Dozens of fake Twitter accounts that featured photos of Black people taken from news reports and messages including "YES IM BLACK AND IM VOTING FOR TRUMP" have been suspended. It's not clear who created the accounts, some of which had tens of thousands of followers, but Clemson University...

Twitter Puts New Rules in Place for Election

Politicians can't declare victory on their own

(Newser) - Twitter is going to look and feel slightly different over the coming days. Per the Washington Post , the social media platform will be putting in place guardrails to mitigate misleading and false tweets regarding the Nov. 3 election, including warnings on politicians' falsehoods and strict rules on when the election...

How a US Journalist Became a Tool of Russian Trolls

News website Peace Data sought to divide liberal voters with disinformation

(Newser) - Actors linked to Russia's Internet Research Agency recruited US journalists to contribute to a news website that was critical of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in an attempt to sow division among liberal voters, Facebook said Tuesday. Tipped off by the FBI, Facebook removed 13 accounts and two pages...

Amid Spread of Misinformation, Whispers on FB's Next Move

Sources tell Bloomberg the social media platform is considering banning political ads before election

(Newser) - Facebook has been struggling lately over a massive advertiser boycott , partly driven by the company's refusal to address political ads spreading misinformation on the platform. Now, people familiar with Facebook's thinking say the company is considering banning political ads in the days leading up to the November election,...

Report: Chinese Agents Spread US COVID-19 Panic

Text messages claimed military was preparing to lock down entire country

(Newser) - Warnings in mid-March that the US government was about to use the military to lock down the entire country were disseminated by Chinese operatives seeking to spread panic and undermine the government, intelligence agencies believe. Officials tell the New York Times that the misinformation spread on social media and through...

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